Empire Justice Center is a statewide legal services organization with offices in Albany, Rochester, Westchester and Central Islip (Long Island). Empire Justice provides support and training to legal services and other community based organizations, undertakes policy research and analysis, and engages in legislative and administrative advocacy. We also represent low income individuals, as well as classes of New Yorkers in a wide range of poverty law areas including health, public assistance, domestic violence and SSI/SSD benefits.
Today, despite some improvement in the economy, the need for support for human services remains as urgent as ever, particularly in light of the continuing uncertainty with regard to federal support. At Empire Justice, we recognize the pressure this puts on state government – but it is state government that must ensure that the safety net for people in need is maintained and, in fact, strengthened. We urge the Legislature act to decisively affirm its Constitutional commitment to aid and support the most vulnerable New Yorkers.
My testimony today will touch on the work of the New York State Office for the Aging, the Office of Children and Family Services, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Office of New Americans, the Department of State, and the Department of Labor. We will discuss the positions set forth below:
1. Restore the Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program (MCCAP) to a total investment of $1.962 million
2. Restore and build upon the investment in the Disability Advocacy Program (DAP)
3. Adopt the Home Stability Support program to reduce homelessness, reduce emergency costs and bring housing security to thousands
4. Protect workers and businesses and increase state revenue by addressing loopholes in existing law
5. Hold public hearings to examine pay rates for certain jobs and the elimination of tips as a wage subsidy
6. Ensure that Liberty Defense Project can provide optimal and continuous service to immigrants
7. Invest $100 million for child care